Morality

Honesty: Telling It Like It IsPremium Content

1 Corinthians 5:12-13 RSV
I wrote to you in my letter not to associate with immoral men; not at all meaning the immoral of this world, or the greedy and robbers, or idolaters, since then you would need to go out of the world. But rather I wrote to you not to associate with any one who bears the name of brother if he is guilty of immorality or greed, or is an idolater, reviler, drunkard, or robber—not even to eat with such a one. For what have I to do with judging outsiders? Is it not those inside the church whom you are to judge? God judges those outside. "Drive out the wicked person from among you.


Scripture talks a lot about not judging others. And then, Paul comes along and commands us to judge others. It seems to contradict itself. This isn't the kind of judgment that brings condemnation or punishment, but rather is the kind of judgment that calls into question. It is, in fact, the judgment that is done in love and demands that another believer turn away from their sin.

Matthew Henry says:

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Do You Want to Be Righteous or Right?Premium Content

Do we want to be righteous... or do we want to be right? It seems, these days, that many people have difficulties taking constructive criticism. The fact is, our egos are so sensitive (so self-centered) that we want everyone to approve of us all the time, rather than accepting the kind of sacrificial love that comes from a friend who wants us to be right with God. And, oh my goodness, what turmoil wells up inside us when we are rebuked! We take it as a personal offense, rather than quietly wondering if perhaps it's really true and we should do something about it.

    A rebuke strikes deeper into a discerning person than a hundred blows into a fool.Proverbs 17:10 NRSV

Friends don't let friends sin. That's the simple fact about Christianity. If we are true to our faith, we understand that everything here is temporal and our focus should be on the eternal. And the eternal is concerned with pleasing God.

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Acceptance of Habitual, Unrepentant SinnersPremium Content

1 Corinthians 5:6-8 RSV
Your boasting is not good. Do you not know that a little leaven leavens the whole lump? Cleanse out the old leaven that you may be a new lump, as you really are unleavened. For Christ, our paschal lamb, has been sacrificed. Let us, therefore, celebrate the festival, not with the old leaven, the leaven of malice and evil, but with the unleavened bread of sincerity and truth.

Paul has been admonishing the Corinthian church for allowing (even welcoming) within their midst a man who is knowingly sinning . . . and continues to sin. This is a huge deal in our churches today because we embrace, even in our leadership, those who not only have sinned in the past, but who continue to embrace their sin in one way or another. We refuse to judge them based on the scripture in Matthew 7: Judge not, that you be not judged (v. 1, RSV). But I think the reason we refuse to judge is revealing. I think we refuse to judge, not out of some sense of obedience to God’s word, but because we don’t want anyone messing around in our lives. The old saying goes, "Birds of a feather flock together." We embrace sinners because we are sinners ourselves, but more than that: We don’t have to give up our own sin. By embracing the sin of others, we feel protected, justified.

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Rights and Wrongs: The Moral Absolutes of The Christian Premium Content

We have what is well known as The Seven Deadly Sins
Pride -opposite of humility
Covetousness – opposite of liberality
Lust – opposite of chastity
Anger – opposite of meekness
Gluttony - oppositie temperance
Envy – opposite of brotherly love
Sloth – opposite of diligence

Pride we have discussed as being snobby, above others such as the so-called prayer the Pharisee prayed beside the sinner/tax collector.

Covetousness has been discussed within the 10 Commandments. Be happy with what you have and be happy for what others have. There is no room for jealousy in God's home.

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Our "Pet" Sins: Can a Christian be a Christian and still sin?Premium Content

Romans 6:15-18 NRSV
What then? Should we sin because we are not under law but under grace? By no means! Do you not know that if you present yourselves to anyone as obedient slaves, you are slaves of the one whom you obey, either of sin, which leads to death, or of obedience, which leads to righteousness? But thanks be to God that you, having once been slaves of sin, have become obedient from the heart to the form of teaching to which you were entrusted, and that you, having been set free from sin, have become slaves of righteousness.

Can a Christian be a Christian and still sin? I think that all of us know that is true. Unfortunately, our churches have been teaching (for many years) that it's possible for a Christian to be a Christian and still embrace sin. And that's not true.

We would like it to be true. All of us have "pet" sins that we do embrace, attitudes, expectations, desires, lusts that make us feel good, that help dull the pain in our lives. And, if we are brutally honest with ourselves, we don't want to give those up. It's that simple.

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What is Your Motivation when You are "Tolerant?"

1 Corinthians 5:1-5 RSV
It is actually reported that there is immorality among you, and of a kind that is not found even among pagans; for a man is living with his father’s wife. And you are arrogant! Ought you not rather to mourn? Let him who has done this be removed from among you. For though absent in body I am present in spirit, and as if present, I have already pronounced judgment in the name of the Lord Jesus on the man who has done such a thing. When you are assembled, and my spirit is present, with the power of our Lord Jesus, you are to deliver this man to Satan for the destruction of the flesh, that his spirit may be saved in the day of the Lord Jesus.

If the apostle Paul, instead of writing this in one of the sacred epistles, had wrote this on an Internet message board or in a blog, I can hear the responses: “Judged? How can you judge him?” “The Bible tells us specifically not to judge one another.” “We need to love this man, not judge him.”

And yet, not only the sinful man, but the entire congregation . . . Paul judged! And pronounced sentence. He condemned what was happening among them.

Cause and Effect

Judges 2:10-11 NLT
After that generation died, another generation grew up who did not acknowledge the Lord or remember the mighty things he had done for Israel. Then the Israelites did what was evil in the Lord's sight . . .

God created the law of cause and effect in this creation. Doing evil was the effect, but it wasn't the cause. We don't do evil in a vacuum; we do evil because there is something that happens within us prior to that.

We don't acknowledge the Lord. We don't remember the mighty things He has done (accounted in the Bible).

Are You Rejoicing in What is Wrong?

1 Corinthians 13:6 RSV
[Love] does not rejoice at wrong, but rejoices in the right.

When I was growing up, going to jail was a terrible shame, not only for the person in jail, but the entire family. No one wanted to have a family member serving time, no less become that person themselves.

Now, I have children in my classroom who are intimately familiar with prison (to the point of having been there many times to visit family and friends). And sadly, these children have told me that they would like to go to prison themselves. They like having a bad "rep" and being in the position of being a bully, of having power over others.

Remember, I'm talking about elementary school aged children.

When We Willfully SinPremium Content

Hebrews 10:26-27 NKJV
For if we sin willfully after we have received the knowledge of the truth, there no longer remains a sacrifice for sins, but a certain fearful expectation of judgment, and fiery indignation which will devour the adversaries.

Matthew Henry writes:

    From the description he gives of the sin of apostasy. It is sinning willfully after we have received the knowledge of the truth, sinning willfully against that truth of which we have had convincing evidence. This text has been the occasion of great distress to some gracious souls; they have been ready to conclude that every willful sin, after conviction and against knowledge, is the unpardonable sin: but this has been their infirmity and error. The sin here mentioned is a total and final apostasy, when men with a full and fixed will and resolution despise and reject Christ, the only Saviour,—despise and resist the Spirit, the only sanctifier,—and despise and renounce the gospel, the only way of salvation, and the words of eternal life; and all this after they have known, owned, and professed, the Christian religion, and continue to do so obstinately and maliciously. (http://www.ccel.org/ccel/henry/mhc6.Heb.xi.html)

Apostasy isn’t something that is talked about much these days. In fact, I can’t remember a time when I heard a preacher talk about the problems with apostasy and yet it is a circumstance

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Are You Willing to do What is Right?

Isaiah 5:20 (NRSV).
Ah, you who call evil good and good evil, who put darkness for light and light for darkness, who put bitter for sweet and sweet for bitter!

Over the years, I have learned to try to analyze my thoughts and actions, to discover why I think the way I do or act the way I choose. I say "try" because I’m not always successful at doing it. I am greatly influenced by the society around me, a society which isn’t trustworthy and which, if I were wise, I would ignore when it comes to making choices.

I look back over my life and see many places where I should have made different decisions, where I could have made better choices. I see so many times when I have been (and still am) self-indulgent rather than obedient to God's will. Just this morning, I read a snippet written by a dear Christian sister. It said, "Will I cooperate [with God’s plan] despite emotional pain?" Will I take the hard road?

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